Opinion May 30, 2020 8:56 PM EST

Protestors decided what leaders could not—the lockdown is over

The lockdown is over. Protestors decided what leaders could not. Either we need to stay in for the good of humanity, or we need to go out for that good, both things can't be true.

Protestors decided what leaders could not—the lockdown is over
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be accurate.

The lockdown is over. Protestors decided what leaders could not. The logic on the protests being the end of the lockdown is clear. If any, extreme measures were necessary to stop coronavirus, then it is easy to see why people would believe that this new crisis, the police killing of George Floyd, warrants going to extremes as well.

In this case, those extremes—leaving home, getting close instead of socially distancing, and destroying instead of preserving—have overturned those measures put in place to protect us from the virus.

While it looks like the story of the protests, riots, and violence is one about racial inequity and police brutality, it would not have happened this way if it weren't for the economic shut down and restrictions over coronavirus. There would be protests, but they would not be in nearly every state of the union, and if they were, they would not have turned this destructive.

Put simply, our leaders have overestimated our ability to stay idle. Our leaders left nowhere for people to go, no work for them to do, and when George Floyd's death ignited not only these new tensions, but the old, festering ones, the spark turned to flame. The city left people nowhere to go—not work, not school, not church, not leisure, or social activity. The only thing left to do in the city was to burn it down.

We've been hearing the oddly optimistic, revolutionary war cries to burn it down from Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her squad on the far left. And now it is burning. Floyd's death has resulted in dead officers in Oakland, and another man killed in Minneapolis. There are more people now stuffed into the jails that just two months ago we sought to evacuate for the health of those confined.

Is this the kind of revolution our democratic leaders were calling for?

Floyd's death was the spark, but what is keeping the fires fed are the shredded lockdown orders that the people have by fiat cast off.

People's lives have been wildly upended by the coronavirus restrictions. Those over 100,000 American lives that were lost due to illness will not be the final number once the fatality count from both the virus itself and the shutdowns enacted on its behalf are reconciled.

Directives and guidance from global, national, and local leaders has shifted from one extreme to another. Protestors who turned out to end the lockdown were widely tagged as "covidiots," while the new batch of demonstrators are protected from criticism by mainstream media, their actions considered justified.

From their attempts to suss out the most accurate modeling scheme to trying to find out the usefulness of face masks, those officials tasked with managing the health crisis of the coronavirus continued to opt for increased lockdown, as opposed to easing. They did this under the guise of protecting life, but instead they have been stifling it. Nothing makes that more apparent than the riots and anger that have bubbled to boiling over this week.

The pandemic has had a polarizing effect. Leftist authoritarians kept telling us "we're all in this together" while having groceries delivered to their work-from-home couches. Then they all stepped out onto their balconies and porches at 7 p.m. every night to bang pots and pans as a thank you to those essential delivery and health care workers.

On the right, those who said more lives would be saved from opening the economy than from keeping it closed were called ghouls who wanted to kill grandmothers. Many of the anti-shutdown protestors were business owners who pushed the lockdown rules in an effort to keep their enterprises afloat and employees employed.

Since mid-April, in those less densely populated areas of the country, there has been growing unrest due to the economic shutdown, and protests were seen in several states. The most notable of these was in Michigan, where people showed up armed to the capitol to demand their rights. But also there were pool parties in Missouri, beach gatherings in California and Florida, and church leaders who preached to their congregations anyway, that were their own form of protest.

Those in the country's primarily Democratic, progressive blue cities, balked at the audacity of those who would skirt lockdown orders, who would leave their homes unmasked. Mainstream media buoyed these admonitions, going so far as to insist that spikes in coronavirus cases would fall hard upon those states where "covidiots" frolicked. Those spikes, however, were not manifest, but media did not return on their claim.

Now, in the nation's biggest cities, protests have erupted, and more are being planned. It took something that met with the mainstays of the ideological narrative of pre-pandemic progressive concerns to get denizens of blue states to open their doors, rub the sleep from their eyes, and step out into the blinding reality.

The evidence that people couldn't take it anymore, that baking sourdough bread and having Zoom calls were just not going to make the grade, that rising unemployment numbers were representative of actual people who were unable to put food on the table, was made clear this week.

We were told over and over that the virus doesn't care about politics. The virus may not care about politics, but the media certainly does. It is because they approve of the political narrative of the current batch protestors that they are both approving of their efforts and refusing to condemn the massive destruction and gatherings.

Last week, we were told that mass gatherings were going to kill everyone, now we are told that they are justified. But there is no more excuse, mass gatherings need to be treated equally. Either we need to stay inside for the good of humanity, or we need to go outside for the good of humanity, both things can't be true.

If we don't see big spikes in coronavirus all of these locations around the US in two weeks, serious questions must be answered, and our leaders must be held accountable for destroying lives, livelihoods, and cracking down on an active and vibrant society.

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